From: Rebecca Sennett, ARKive.org , More from this Affiliate
Published August 28, 2012 07:02 AM

Will Batman Celebrate International Bat Night?

International Bat Night is happening this weekend, an event that hopes to inspire people across Europe to understand more about how bats live and why they are so important to conserve. A series of presentations, exhibitions and bat walks are happening in more than 30 countries, including the UK — check out the bat walk at Harcourt Arboretum in Oxford this Thursday.

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To join in the celebrations, we have delved into the ARKive collection to come up with some truly batty facts to get you in the mood for International Bat Night and to hopefully inspire you to take part in an event near you!

Batty Fact No. 1

Vampire bats use infrared sensors to detect veins on their warm-blooded prey.

In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers found that vampire bats have evolved specialised heat-sensitive nerve channels around the nose, allowing the bats to home in on "hot spots" on their prey, where the veins run close to the skin’s surface. In other animals, including humans, these nerve channels are used to detect heat that would be damaging to the body at temperatures above 43ºC. However, in the vampire bat the channels in the nose have evolved to activate at a much cooler 30ºC, allowing the bat to detect the body heat of its prey. Clever stuff!

Batty Fact No. 2

The 'smallest bat in the world' prize goes to Kitti's hog-nosed bat!

Kitti's hog-nosed bat is not only the smallest bat in the world, but also the smallest mammal in existence, weighing a maximum of just 2 grams! It is also the sole living species of the family Craseonycteridae, meaning that its extinction would not only be the loss of an incredibly unique species, but an entire branch of the evolutionary tree would vanish from our planet.

Vampire Bat showing its fangs via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate, ARKive.

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